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Old 02-01-2010, 03:07 AM   #1
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Default Sour Smelling Starter

I harvested some pacman yeast from the bottom of my primary when I was transferring a few weeks ago. I made a starter with this harvested yeast the other day and it smells sour.

I read some other posts on here that people have experienced sour and grapefruit type smells with this particular strain. Since it looked healthy I didn't bother to smell it before brewing. Once I was ready to pitch I noticed the smell and I had no other options (shoulda had some dry backups in the fridge). Also, the home brew shops are all closed tomorrow so I couldn't risk leaving wort in a fermenter for 2 days. I swirled up the starter and pitched away.

I know time will tell whether I had a bad starter but in the meantime I wanted to hop on here and see if anyone else has experienced these types of smells with this yeast strain or any other starters.

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Old 02-01-2010, 04:08 AM   #2
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I haven't played with the Pacman strain so I can't help you there. However, in all other experience I wouldn't touch a starter that didn't smell right to me. Probably won't make you feel warm and fuzzy...I hope someone has something better to say about that strain for you.

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Old 02-01-2010, 04:25 AM   #3
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This is actually my first attempt at making a starter so I have nothing to compare the smell to.

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Old 02-01-2010, 01:26 PM   #4
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Starters often smell bad. No problem. If you trust your sanitation procedures, make beer with it.

The first week of a fermenting beer can smell pretty bad, too.

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Old 02-01-2010, 01:42 PM   #5
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i asked this about a month ago when I brewed my porter.

beer turned out great.

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Old 02-01-2010, 02:17 PM   #6
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The reason starter liquid often goes sour after a couple of days is simple, you are making what amounts to an unhopped beer.

To counter this some folks add one or two hop pellets to their dme when they are boiling it. But honestly, it's the starter "beer" that is sour, NOT the yeast. As long as you decant that off the yeast cakes, you'll be fine.

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Old 02-01-2010, 03:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
To counter this some folks add one or two hop pellets to their dme when they are boiling it.
The hops inhibit yeast reproduction. To what extent, I don't know, but I've heard one of the "experts" state this. Therefore, I don't add any hops to my starters. I believe the "expert" was the english Carlson guy, or something like that. Podcast.

In the past, I added some hops to the starter boil to bring the pH down and hopefully create a difficult environment for bacteria. That purpose may still have enough merit to continue adding them.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
The hops inhibit yeast reproduction. To what extent, I don't know, but I've heard one of the "experts" state this. Therefore, I don't add any hops to my starters. I believe the "expert" was the english Carlson guy, or something like that. Podcast.

In the past, I added some hops to the starter boil to bring the pH down and hopefully create a difficult environment for bacteria. That purpose may still have enough merit to continue adding them.
Well I take opinions form "experts" with a grain of salt. Just because one wanker has HIS take on it, doesn't mean there's not 10,000 other folks who have had different experiences with it. Lots of folks on here add 1-2 pellets to their wort. And I believe it was at least one or two "Experts" who suggest doing it.

Oh yeah, like THIS one..

Quote:
John Palmer, "How to brew."

Chapter 6 - Yeast
6.5 Preparing Yeast and Yeast Starters

3. On Wednesday (or Tuesday for slants) you will make up a starter wort. Boil a pint (1/2 quart) of water and stir in 1/2 cup of DME. This will produce a starter of about 1.040 OG. Boil this for 10 minutes, adding a little bit of hops if you want to. Put the lid on the pan for the last couple minutes, turn off the stove and let it sit while you prepare for the next step. Adding a quarter teaspoon of yeast nutrient (vitamins, biotin, and dead yeast cells) to the starter wort is always advisable to ensure good growth. It is available from your brewshop.
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:50 PM   #9
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He (expert) never said not to add hops to starters. I don't think he was even discussing starters. I drew that conclusion based on the fact I mentioned above.

Regarding "experts", yea, I hear ya. There is a lot of tribal and anecdotal information that is rapidly changing in the homebrewer community. But science of cellular reproduction is documented and irrefutable, and that is what this expert was discussing. I applied that information to my starter process, right or wrong.

I don't think he is just any wanker. I think he runs the brewing school at University of California.

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Old 02-01-2010, 05:26 PM   #10
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I had considered the lack of a hop addition as one possible reason for the sour smell.

My starter was only 1 pint so I swirled it up and added the whole thing.

had a very short lag time and there is an airlock bubbling away behind me as we speak.

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